Moments of Power

Lots of people have good cases to make – but the people who get the lion’s share of what’s on offer are people who make this case the best.

Following are tips that may help improve your effectiveness in persuading other people. These are 2 of the persuasion methods taken from Robert Cialdini's best selling book 'Influence and Persuasion'.

1. Faced with two options, should you present the moderate option first or the most extreme option first?

Robert Cialdini recounts a study by Phoenix University. The researchers asked a number of people whether they were prepared to supervise a group of juvenile delinquents to the zoo as part of a social project. 17% of those asked said they would. The experimenters then asked another group of people whether they would be prepared to mentor these juveniles for three hours a week for the next two years. Of those that said no, they then asked them the first question (about the zoo trip) and the number that said yes went up to a staggering 50%!

He described the moment immediately after they said no as a “Moment of Power”. If you have to make a request have a backup request available and make it immediately. Don’t go away and then come back and make the request later - you're far less likely to win a yes.

2. What should you say when people say “thank you”?

Cialdini described another “Moment of Power” that occurs after someone has thanked you for something you have done.

Cialdini named another basic driver of persuasion: reciprocity – people want to do things for people who have done things for them. The good old give and take.

When you have put yourself out and done something for other people and they say “Thank you” it’s tempting to say “Don’t mention it” or “No problem”.

Cialdini suggests that the correct response would be something like “Sure, and I know if I needed something from you you’d do the same for me, wouldn't you?”.

This can have the effect of building up a credit in the 'relationship bank account' which you can call on in the future. If you dismiss your efforts as valueless, then don’t expect other people to value them.

Reader Comments

Average Rating:

Total Comments: 0

View or Write a comment

Back to Negotiation Articles

Please feel free to share this article by republishing the contents of this page in part or full. All that we ask is you include a regular link back to this site, preferably to our page.

Reader Comments

Average Reader Rating:       Comments: 0

share your comment

No comments

Negotiation Newsletter